THE government said Wednesday it will evict 500 illegal settlers on farms across the country, as it moves to bring finality to the land reform program which it started at the turn of the millennium.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrence Shiri told a post-cabinet media briefing that Cabinet had resolved to evict the illegal settlers to ensure stability on the farms.
“The illegal settlers are found throughout the farming areas so basically you find them in all the provinces. We have identified where they are and we are proceeding with the evictions,” he said.
“We expect that they shall go back to where they came from. If they have got any challenges, well we have got the social department which can look into that, but our task is to ensure there is total stability on the farms.
“But our task is to ensure there is total stability on the farm.”
The minister also said would assist farmers with inputs despite the suspension of a support programme by finance minister Mthuli Ncube.
“Everything possible is being done for farmers go back to the land and the government will leave no stone unturned to make sure we produce enough not only for our own consumption but even for exports,” he said.
“Yes, there could be challenges here and there but that’s why we are there to look into challenges and resolve them.”
Shiri would however, not be drawn on whether 600 villagers at the Mazou and Arnold farm who, in 2016 and 2017, were once forcibly evicted by former First Lady Grace Mugabe were also targeted.
Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform programme to correct colonial land imbalances which favoured the white minority.
However, the programme resulted in some people settling themselves unlawfully on pieces of land, a situation which the government is now trying to correct.
The government is in the process of conducting a land audit to assess utilisation patterns to open up under-utilised land for other interested citizens.